Covenant is a Relationship and Ours is a Covenantal Religion.

Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal religion. It is all about being in relationship with the community and the congregation. It is about making promises to one another about how we will act in the world.

We are short on specifics, of course; there isn’t a formal list of “Shall Nots” to check actions against. Ours is a religion of choices and of best intentions, the most important of which is to keep growing, helping more and hurting less as we are able.

Being UU is a choice to be part of something and letting that something help you be a better member of the various communities you move through. Unitarian Universalism is about trying to be your best self, knowing that you will occasionally fail, and trying again. It is about building and rebuilding relationships, always seeking to have a more positive impact. We have to adjust and grow as we learn. Each relationship requires something different from us, and we grow in new ways from the experience.

A teacher has to treat each class according to the needs of the students present. A barista has to adjust to the attitude, the accent, or the dietary needs of different customers. Each of us has to be in each relationship in our lives, and each relationship will be unique. The same is true of the person on the other end, too. And we are shaped by our experience, changing how we engage in every other relationship in some way.

So, what matters is our commitment to be the best person we can be in each of those relationships. To be encouraging in healthy ways and supportive without being pushy or demanding. As James Luther Adams put it, “”All relations between persons ought ideally to rest on mutual, free consent and not on coercion.” That is one of the primary attributes of a liberal religion. We can only control who we are and what we offer. I believe that being your best will most often bring out the best in others.

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